How to Know if an Email is Fraudulent

For small hotels and bed & breakfasts, weeding out fraudulent email requests can be more of an art than a science. But, here are some foolproof methods of identifying scam emails in under a minute. Fraud prevention has become an important part of everyday business at Instant World Booking, so we’ve learned a few things along the way.

Whenever you receive an email reservation request, and the body of the email mentions “credit cards used for full payment”, this is a red flag. Most legitimate requests would never ask about full payment in advance by credit card.

90% of fraud emails will be sent from yahoo, gmail, hotmail, or some other free email service. So, if there’s any doubt about the content of the email, check the sender’s email address.

Now, here’s the foolproof part. Check the email headers. Many scammers have become good at faking email addresses, website domains, even copying the exact logos and website content of legitimate businesses. However, they cannot fake the “email headers”. Here’s how to check them:

From your email inbox, right-click the suspect email. Select “Message options”. You will immediately see the headers, starting with something like “Return-path:”, “Envelope-to”, etc.

If the header contains a source domain or address that looks suspicious, the email is most likely fraudulent.


Top 40 Places to Visit in Budapest, Hungary

Visiting Hungary? Budapest  is the capital of Hungary and is also the largest city of Hungary, it serves as the country’s principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre.  There are an endless array of exciting activities and places to visit.

Budapest, Hungary

Here are the top 40 places to visit and things to do in Budapest, Hungary:

  1. Rudas Baths
  2. Hungarian State Opera House (Magyar Allami Operahaz)
  3. Royal Wine House and Wine Cellar Museum
  4. St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent Istvan Bazilika)
  5. Castle Hill (Varhegy)
  6. Great / Central Synagogue (Nagy Zsinagoga)
  7. Parliament (Orszaghaz)
  8. Danube
  9. Fisherman’s Bastion (Halaszbastya)
  10. Gellert Hill and Statue (Gellert Hegy)
  11. Holocaust Memorial Center
  12. West Station
  13. Margaret Island (Margitsziget)
  14. Chain Bridge (Szechenyi lanchid)
  15. House of Terror
  16. Shoes on the Danube Promenade
  17. Matthias Church (Matyas Templom)
  18. Heroes’ Square (Hosok tere)
  19. Budapest Zoo (Budapesti Allakert)
  20. Andrassy Avenue
  21. Palace of Wonders
  22. Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art
  23. Cave Church
  24. Korzo – Danube Embankment (Dunakorzo)
  25. Children’s Railway
  26. Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum (Liszt Ferenc Emlekmuzeum)
  27. Liberty Square (Szadadsag Ter)
  28. Budapest Operetta Theatre
  29. Buda Castle – Royal Palace (Kiralyi Palota)
  30. Janos Hill (Janoshegy)
  31. City Park (Varosliget)
  32. Gresham Palace
  33. Museum of Fine Arts (Szepmuveszeti Muzeum)
  34. Holy Trinity Column (Szentharomsag)
  35. Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galeria)
  36. Postal Stamp Museum (Belyegmuzeum)
  37. Tropicarium – Oceanarium
  38. Janos Hill (Janoshegy)
  39. Franz Liszt Academy
  40. Las Vegas Casino

The “Cumulative Effect” of Online Marketing

A hostel owner in a major Spanish city-center, who was re-evaluating his business plan, asked his manager to revamp back-office procedures to save costs, increase efficiency, and grow marketing efforts. All this was in preparation for anticipated growth for the next 5 years. After considering the objectives and making several changes, the manager eliminated 6 online booking sites, citing duplication of work for few reservations. Some of these booking sites were free and others had fees. Within 4 months, reservations from the remaining online sources, including the hostel’s own website, had declined by 39%. At the same time, the hostel owner had contracted a professional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) firm specializing in travel to advise him on their online marketing strategy. Following another 3 months of falling internet reservations, and receiving the business plan from the SEO consultants, the owner fired his manager.

So what are the lessons learned?  It has to do with the “cumulative effect” of marketing.  These days, Instant World Booking is offering a lot of free internet exposure … more than most other services.  A famous New York University Business School professor once said,

“Don’t ever turn down free advertising. Marketing has a ‘cumulative effect’. In this case, less is not more. More is definitely More!”

Yes, online marketing has a “cumulative effect”. This means it’s more effective to advertise your property on 2 websites than 1, and better to advertise on 3 rather than 2, and so on. The “cumulative effect” is even more valuable if the source of advertising is costless. Here’s how it works. Persistent online presence of your brand name is necessary to achieve name (brand) recognition, and to gain higher search rankings for pages containing your property’s name. Studies show that when your property (brand) name appears on multiple websites, Google and other search engine rankings for that keyword goes up. It doesn’t matter if the source website is generating reservations or direct revenue for you. Just by appearing there it’s multiplying your keyword effectiveness.

What’s more, if you actually have back-links on 3rd party websites (like IWB gives you for free!), this has a direct impact on the page rank (PR) Google assigns to your website. Knowing this, would you ever call up all the websites, blogs, and social media sites out there that mention your brand, and ask them to “remove those comments”? We don’t think so. If you’re still not convinced, consider that any free publicity, in fact almost any website in the world that mentions your property or brand name, is increasing the overall effectiveness of your online marketing strategy. If it’s free, never give it up. So, don’t only list with Instant World Booking. We even recommend you go out tomorrow and sign up for 5 additional online marketing sites, as long as there’s no cost.


New Tips for Increasing Success with Online Marketing

Back in November 2008, we published a list of steps to increase your success with online marketing.  There’s been so many new developments, we thought it was time to update this advice.  If you are striving to enhance your online presence as a hotel, hostel or bed & breakfast, the following tips will help you maximize your success.

 

Tips for maximizing reservation potential as well as saving money and time with Instant World Booking:

 

  1. Ensure your listing is up to date and accurate.  Include as much information as possible, not only about your property, but also about local attractions, restaurants, etc.
  2. Make sure to spell-check your listing.  Incorrect spelling signals to guests that the property is not professionally maintained.  Incorrect spelling also prevents proper translation of your listing information (we translate your content to 15+ world languages, with a separate page for your listing in each language).
  3. Add photos.  Listings with photos gain at least 4x more traffic than those without photos.  Make sure your photos are large and complement your property and location.  Select an appropriate primary photo (the 1st photo in your list appears as a thumbnail in our index).
  4. Add a complete calendar of availability.  Your calendar is important, since guests prefer instant booking over online requests.  Make sure you have complete availability online, and at least 6-9 months of availability.
  5. Don’t waste time managing your calendar manually.  We feature an XML feed that can import and export your availability to your calendar management or front desk system.  Tell your software or service provider that you want them to integrate with Instant World Booking.  Send them this URL:  http://www.instantworldbooking.com/blog_iw/category/xml-feeds/
  6. Update your location using our new geo-coded location system.  This new system will enhance search functionality on our service, making it easier for guests to find you.  Sign in to your listing and proceed to MANAGE LISTING to update your location.  Include an accurate street address on your listing, as well as your GPS coordinates if available.  Guests will not book properties that they can’t easily find.
  7. Use Instant World Booking’s Booking Engine for your own website.  Our Booking Engine is a superior solution priced much lower than all competing providers.  We guarantee better economics for your website, so begin saving now by trying our booking engine.  Read more at http://www.instantworldbooking.com/booking-engine.php
  8. Add your website URL to your listing.  We provide free links to your homepage from many of our 100+ websites.  A typical property will have viewable links to your homepage on at least a dozen or more of our domains.  For better exposure, upgrade your links to Premium Paid Links.  For more information, log in to your listing, and proceed to the OPPORTUNITIES page.
  9. If you already work with us, link to us.  Cross-linking between domains helps to build search engine rankings.  Read more at:  http://www.instantworldbooking.com/link-to-us.php
  10. If you have videos of your property, post them to one of our blogs.  For more information on posting videos see:
  11. Check the Alerts and Opportunities tabs when you log in at our website.  These tabs provide information on improving your success with online marketing.
  12. For more ways on how to work with us, check out:  http://www.instantworldbooking.com/work-with-us.php

 

 

Remember, it can take several weeks to several months for Google and other leading search engines to effectively index your page on our network of sites.  Instant World Booking has proven to be very successful in gaining top search engine rankings for its listed lodging partners.  One last reason it is very important to use the instant booking method is that we use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to market your property on Google and other sites.  Use of a PPC campaign can cost you hundreds of US dollars.  However, for our partners who use instant booking, we advertise your property in PPC campaigns for free.

 

Additionally, only Instant World Booking gives you up to 15+ specialized pages just for your property, with each page translating your property information into a different language.  This is something you probably don’t even have on your own website.  Again this service comes at no cost to you.

 

One last note, persistence and patience is the key to success.  Online marketing is “collective”.  This means it is more effective to advertise your property on 2 services than 1.  Persistent online presence is necessary to achieve online name (brand) recognition, and to gain higher search rankings for pages containing your property’s name.  Advertising with Instant World Booking is an extremely valuable, and free, method of increasing your online presence.


What is the lowest cost for a booking engine for your website?

What is the lowest cost on the internet for a fully-customizable booking engine for your website?

We have the answer: 1.9%. That’s because Instant World Booking also offers a basic service option with the lowest price available anywhere. And, that still includes online bookings combined with credit card confirmation for your website.

In fact, we offer a range of pricing options starting at the industry-low of 1.9%, offering integrated bookings and credit card deposits all the way up to full collection of the reservation amount up-front. Contact us today to learn more about pricing options and an online booking solution that’s perfect for your business.

Get more about fully-integrated booking engines for your website.

Add your hotel today for online booking at Instant World Booking.


Post your Hotel Videos Online for Free Marketing

Instant World Booking now features a great new service for free marketing of hotels, hostels and bed & breakfasts.  You’re invited to post your videos on our blogs.  This is an excellent way to maximize your online marketing presence, and yet another free service that Instant World Booking offers (boy, we love giving away free stuff).  You don’t even need to have a listing on our service.

If you wish to post your videos on one of our blogs, it’s easy.  Just decide which blog you wish to post to:

For hotels of all kinds:

 – Instant World Booking (you’re here)

For hostels and budget lodging:

 – HostelTraveler.com (go to the HostelTraveler.com homepage, and proceed to the blog)

For bed and breakfasts:

 – BedBreakfastTraveler.com (go to the BedBreakfastTraveler.com homepage, and proceed to the blog)

Instructions for posting videos on our blog:

Our Blog allows you to share YouTube videos with ease, and supports the latest high quality video protocols (360p and HD quality 720p).  It will even be viewable on iPod and iPhone.

Step 1:  Register at our blog:

http://www.instantworldbooking.com/blog_iw/wp-login.php?action=register

Step 2:  Submit a post about your property at the following page:

http://www.instantworldbooking.com/blog_iw/category/hotel-videos/

Step 3:  Insert a video link in your post

To insert a YouTube video in your posts, paste the YouTube video URL directly into the text of your post with a prefix of httpv:// (notice the ‘v’).

Important:The URL should just be copied into your post normally and the letter ‘v’ added, do not create a clickable link (i.e., with <a> tags)!

Example:  httpv ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKjgajXePd8

If you want to embed high quality video (for videos that have them) use httpvh:// instead (Video High).

If you want to embed HD Quality (DVD quality 720p) video use httpvhd:// instead (Video High Defintion).

To embed playlists use httpvp:// (eg. httpvp ://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=528026B4F7B34094)

–  httpv:// – regular video

–  httpvh:// – high quality

–  httpvhd:// – HD quality

–  httpvp:// – playlist


10 Free Places to add your Hotel or Hostel Website Online

Want to increase your exposure online? Visit these 10 free places to list your hostel online and get additional exposure on the Internet:

  1. World66.com
  2. Wikitravel.org
  3. Yelp.com (USA)
  4. Google Local
  5. Yahoo Local
  6. Yahoo Travel — either find your hostel in the listings and look for an edit link or go to the home page and look for the suggest a hotel link at the bottom of the page.
  7. HostelLinks.com
  8. HostelGuide.de
  9. Backpackers-planet.com
  10. HostelManagement.com

New Feature – Add As Many Photos as you Want on the Web

Instant World Booking is working hard to continue to innovate and lead online booking technology around the globe. Our latest innovation is a simple one, but unmatched elsewhere for online reservation services.

Hotels and hostels who advertise on our network can now upload an unlimited number of photos to their listing. You heard right — Unlimited! This feature is free, and as always, maintaining a listing with the Instant World Booking is free.

So what does this mean exactly. We have a again pushed above the service level of competing booking services. Look at typical hotel pages on most services. You’ll see maybe 6 or 7 of a property’s best photos, in a small image barely larger than a thumbnail. This does very little to sell your rooms and beds.

If you’ve been advertising your hotel, hostel, or bed and breakfast on the web for a while, you know that photos sell rooms! And, the more photos you have the better. Don’t include just photos of your guestrooms, but of all areas of your property. Give a real sense of what it’s like to stay in your hotel. And what about your environment? Include photos of the surrounding neighborhood and views from your property. This really sells rooms.

To add your photos, simply sign in to your listing at Instant World Booking, and proceed to the MANAGE PHOTOS page. You can upload an unlimited number of images. And, you can submit images as large as 8MB! No more re-sizing and touching up your photos. Our enhanced system will handle that for you. As a bonus, don’t worry about the format of your pictures, you can now submit JPEG/JPG, PNG, and GIF images.

So get online today, and add your photos. Remember, good photos increase reservations. If it’s been awhile since you’ve refreshed your pics, get your camera out, and start taking new photos.

As always, Instant World Booking looks forward to seeing you on the web. To get listed with our network, simply go to:

http://www.instantworldbooking.com/listings/add_listing.php